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Teen dies of cardiac arrest after defibrillator on American Airlines flight wasn’t charged, lawsuit says

Ambulance (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 27, 2023

Kevin Greenidge, 14, was flying from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to Miami, Florida, last June when he suffered a cardiac arrest on an American Airlines flight.

The teenager reportedly wasn’t feeling well while traveling with his uncle to New York following a family vacation. Tragically, even though a doctor was on board and attempted to use the defibrillator on the airplane, Greenidge passed away. 

His mother, Melissa Arzu, has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines in New York Federal Court following her son’s death, alleging that the defibrillator on board was faulty and the crew was poorly trained in life-saving precautions. 

According to Insider, the lawsuit alleges that American Airlines failed to “ensure that the automatic external defibrillator and its mobile battery pack were fully and properly charged,” the airline’s oversight “caused, permitted, and/or hastened the untimely death of” Greenidge. 

According to the Aviation Medical Assistance Act, airlines are required by law to be equipped with an automated external defibrillator and emergency medical kits.  

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According to a study by the American Heart Association, using defibrillators during in-flight cardiac events increases the patient’s chances of survival. A full 15 percent of passengers who suffered a cardiac arrest on a plane survived, compared to 11 percent for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases. 

Greenidge’s death wasn’t the first wrongful death lawsuit American Airlines has faced.

In 2018, Brittany Oswell, 25, became seriously ill several hours into her American Airlines flight from Hawaii to Texas. 

According to Dallas News, in Oswell’s case, the plaintiffs alleging the crew was poorly trained, and the medical equipment on the plane was defective. 

During the flight, a doctor on board notified flight attendants of her condition, but the pilot allegedly refused the doctor’s request for a diversion and landing in Phoenix and instead consulted the flight crew to continue to Dallas Fort Worth.